Zo!: a mind-expanding New Age synthesiser doodling debut

Uzu Noir, Zo!, Finland, self-released UzuEp01 vinyl 12″ EP (2022)

To judge from its small output, Uzu Noir looks like a very new project but the man behind it, Antti Uusimäki, has a long CV as an audio engineer / mixer / producer and former in-house engineer at Eastcote Studios (London) working on other people’s recordings. It’s perhaps more than high time then that he releases something he can call his own! True, at about 20 minutes in length, “Zo!” is a very baby mini album – but more often than not, small releases have some very big universes inside and I am anticipating that “Zo!” will be one of these TARDIS-like works, bigger inside than out.

The first three minutes of “Zo!” are very promising – these are the minutes that make up the introductory track “Jx-Q” – featuring as they do a lot of melodic synthesiser doodling before a brief glimpse of the vast reaches of space beckoning ahead. Sure enough, “Jahwohl De Sage” delivers a delicate scene of buzz and fuzz drone wash, in and out of which are threaded little melody fragments that last a short time before disappearing back into the cosmos. The main track “Zo!” is a dreamy work, soothing and relaxing in mood, that expands and contracts in and out of its rich sprawling soundscape, lush and liquid in sound, hypnotic and seductive in the way it unfolds and dares listeners to follow it far into its dimensions.

Composed, performed, mixed and produced by Uusimäki, this recording does have a very retro-1970s Kosmische-Musik atmosphere but at the same time it does sound fresh in tone, and it has a sense of wonder at the strange worlds that whiz by as it travels through and past them. There may be no grand intellectual / philosophical statement behind these unstructured pieces but as they are, they are very relaxing New Age sound art pieces that free and expand your mind.